Serving business law clients in Benton, Franklin, and surrounding counties
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Business law is a broad area of law that governs business organizations. This can include drafting contracts and business planning. At Aultman Law, my focus is on business litigation.
Business litigation, also known as commercial litigation, deals with disputes involving businesses. The disputes can be between an individual and a business or be between businesses. Common types of business disputes are:
- breach of contract
- partnership disputes
- false advertising
- breach of fiduciary duty
- interference with a business interest
- fraudulent misrepresentation of a service or product
Business disputes are a growing reality in today’s complex business environment. These disputes can be confusing and emotional. Therefore, hiring an experienced business litigation attorney is often the key to successfully resolving the dispute.
Most business litigation involves one party breaching the terms of a contract. A contract is an exchange of promises for consideration (usually money) between two or more parties and can require the parties to do certain things or not do certain things. A contract can also be written or oral.
A written contract is required in many instances under Washington State’s statute of fraud laws. The following are some of the main types of agreements that must be in writing to be enforceable in Washington State:
- sale of goods priced over $500
- real estate brokers’ commissions
- contracts that cannot be completed within one year
- contracts pertaining to marriage
- settlement agreements
- security agreements
Rule of Thumb
A good rule of thumb is that if the contract pertains to something important to you, put it in writing. But this does not mean an oral contract cannot be valid. If your contract deals with a service (not a good) or does not deal with one of the areas listed above, an oral contract may be just as enforceable as a written contract. However, one challenge with oral contracts can be proving their existence when one party denies entering into an oral agreement. In those instances, a business litigation attorney can help by gathering evidence of the parties’ conduct. Ultimately, that evidence must be presented to a judge. The judge alone will determine if a valid oral contract exists and the terms of that contract.
When another party breaches a written or oral contract, an experienced business litigation attorney should review the terms of your contract to determine your remedies. A carefully worded contract may require the dispute to be mediated out of court or presented to an arbitrator. Or the contract may say how much money the non-breaching party is owed in the event of a breach. These types of provisions may help avoid protracted and costly litigation.
Business Litigation Experience
With over 15 years of business litigation experience, I have helped many businesses understand their contractual obligations. I have found that most business clients prefer to resolve their disputes out of court so they can focus on running their businesses. This also avoids the uncertainty of court rulings and trials.
If for some reason the dispute cannot be resolved out of court, I have tried business disputes to juries in Washington State and Idaho. If you need help with a business litigation matter in Benton county, Franklin county, or surrounding counties, contact my office today.